In the last few weeks, ever since the new national carbon emissions standards were released, I have read a number of editorials about the impact this will have on Kentucky. None of these articles, however, really relied upon the latest and most undisputed evidence regarding the long-term effect of this policy on the commonwealth.
Perhaps the excellent article written by Nancy Grant in the June edition of “Kentucky Living” magazine was overlooked, but the public has a right to know what has happened in Germany when it went down this road. Her article – “Germany rethinks renewable energy” – is very telling as it details the disastrous outcome of believing that “renewable energy” won’t drive up the cost of electricity to consumers and drive manufacturing jobs to other places.
The article points out that after the 1997 worldwide conference on global warming in Japan, Germany embarked upon an energy policy nearly identical to what the current administration is proposing.
Do these goals Germany had sound familiar?
1. The government planned to make massive shifts to renewable energy along with dramatic reductions in the use of coal.
2. The government set up a complicated system of subsidies.
3. The government put a surcharge on electric bills to pay for this transformation.
The result was that for every $100 of electricity they use, Germans must pay an additional $22 in a renewable-energy surcharge. German families were finding it harder and harder to pay their electric bills and make ends meet. Newspapers in Germany reported that shut-offs for non-payment were increasing and so were the requests for public assistance.
Ms. Grant also reports that the manufacturing companies were coming to the same conclusion that Kentucky and American companies are now, that “the most sensible thing to do is shut down and move somewhere else where the rates are lower.”
This is the concluding paragraph of her article: “So Germany has been quietly increasing its coal use. Last year, a new coal-based power plant began producing electricity, and 10 additional coal power plants have been approved for construction.”
With the building of these plants, and the construction going on worldwide, the closure of 30 or so coal-fired facilities here in America will be completely negligible as far as greenhouse emissions are concerned, and the inevitable outcome here will be exactly as it was in Germany: Higher costs to consumers and a loss of manufacturing jobs.
To their credit, German leaders saw the error of their ways. We need new leadership in Washington that does more than just talk without worrying about the effect this will have.